Name: Raunak Mohta, IInd year , Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law , Patiala (Punjab).
Name of the organisation: CRY, Kolkata (NGO)
Application procedure. Internship contact details: I had applied through college, but they do accept individual applications.
If they like your Curriculum Vitae, then they will definitely give you a mail which will contain a sort-of online form which has to be sent back.
If they find the form to be satisfactory they will follow up by a telephonic interview which will decide whether you get the internship or not.
They do NOT take intern all throughout the year, so you can apply only in summer and winter break periods. (May-June-July & Dec-Jan).
Who should apply ? : If you are in first or second semester and going to start off on your first internship then this is a good kick start which will get you accustomed to the idea of an internship.
Also if you are interested specifically in Child Rights you can apply even at later stages.
Duration : Mine was 4 weeks. They typically offer 4-6 weeks of internship. You might have to work on weekends as well . Saturdays used to be half days and Sundays were mostly off.
Accommodation: Kolkata is my hometown so there was no problem of accommodation. However, for your information the office is situated in Kalikapur, which lies between Jadavpur and Ruby.
Plenty of PG’s are available at Jadavpur which is near to the office besides being a safe and cheap area.
First Impression : It is a very special feeling, especially if it is your first internship.
Before coming down we were mailed pre-internship assessment forms (Later you even get post-internship assessment forms). We were briefed about CRY and the work which we were supposed to do. Also we were shown short movie clips and pictures and shown the work done by the previous interns and also made aware about the real situation of children in India.
We were mailed our assignment to be done on our e-mail id which was to be brought the next day. The office provided for internet if you didn’t have it back at your place. First day at work seemed very interesting and it remained that way till the end.
Main Tasks : We worked mainly on the implementation of RTE Act, 2009. We visited different schools, put up CAC’s ( CRY Action Centres – Stalls put up on roadside to educate people about RTE and thus make them aware of their rights).
We also did a lot of research over the internet while making reports for the CRY daily assignments.
We interviewed children and spoke to administration as well as students of different schools. The real picture then came to light that how administration at government schools were squeezing money from poor poverty stricken children for education. No doubt this is the reason we are not achieving cent percent literacy rates even in urban areas.
We also did case-studies about child-labour which were an eye-opener as to why child labour could not be completely banned in India cause in many cases it is the source of livelihood of people.
We also worked on a national level survey of working of RTE in India. It was fun taking pictures, making a project report, the field work was the best part.
Work Environment : People were extremely humble, friendly and we had an extremely amiable lady as our boss, Mrs. Ishani Biswas who guided us well.
Also you have interesting mix of co-interns from different background starting with engineering students to IIM students to students from arts background, not to forget law schoolites. The people in office help you out with your work if you are stuck somewhere.
Best Things : It is a brilliant work experience which tells you how an office works and how you should be punctual and what exactly is the way of work in an internship. It is really chilled out but professional internship which will really get you into the groove for your next internships.
Worst Things : There is nothing bad about the internship. A language barrier (not knowing Bengali) won’t be an issue as even the everyone is given work accordingly and everyone feels important . The only issue you can face is finding the office ( the pathways from the main road are really confusing ! )
Food : There is a Monginis (one of the famous cake shop chains in Kolkata) outlet nearby, plus you can order maggi, chowmein , dosas etc. delivered to you in the office at an approximate value of 50 rupees/day.
Moral of the Story : Even if nowadays some people treat NGO internships as a sham , but for a first internship I would suggest a start-up, NGO or media house , something other than High Court or District Court ( A big no for Law Firms!) is preferable so that you learn to love internships and don’t just run for the certificate. Plus a bit of social service always helps whether its jobs in MNC’s or applying for scholarships five years down the line.